Earlier this month our Young Eventers Programme riders, Harry Mutch, Kristina Hall-Jackson and Emma Thomas made a quick turnaround after a busy Bramham to head to sunny Switzerland for 4 days of education sessions courtesy of the Young Riders Academy and the European Equestrian Federation.
“It was lovely to meet some of the show-jumpers and widen our friendship circle” added Kristina. “The team building exercises were a great ice breaker for us all to mix but also a great way to learn more about how to communicate more effectively. The blind fold exercise was especially useful as it made me realise how much you had to trust your partner and how this relates to riding our horses as they put their full trust in us as riders and it made me realise how important it is to be clear when communicating.”
“I have used Poppy Blandford for some individual psychology sessions already, but I found her lectures very interesting and good to refresh my mind in using certain techniques to keep my mind in a focused state when riding.”
In addition to the team building exercises the Young Riders Academy provided business and veterinary lectures at the Franklin University.
“We arrived at the Franklin University, where we were given a veterinary lecture based around horses’ eyes and how they perceive the world, including jumps on the approach, commented Emma Thomas. “Other topics covered in these lessons ranged from basic equine vitals to identification and appearance change with age.”
“Our third lesson was a business lecture. After some theory in the classroom, we did a series of challenges. The first was a leadership and team communication challenge (which us Brits won!). We then went to talk about social media, personal branding, and interviewing. This was given by a documentary filmmaker and a social media expert. It was great to get some different perspectives from each of them on some ideas that we could use to further our public image.”
The education sessions are a key part of the Young Eventers Programme, giving them a chance to enhance their learning and theoretical knowledge, plus helping them to focus different aspects of performance.
“I feel like I have come away learning so much,” said Harry Mutch. “Some of the highlights included the mental coaching with Poppy Blandford as it is so beneficial to get your mind thinking correctly at a show and how breathing at specific points during your round can change your performance so much.
The veterinary knowledge was interesting learning about all lameness issues and going through all treatments for injuries/diseases.
It was also great to meet all the riders on the YRA hearing how their systems work at home and how that would be different to an event rider’s.”
Next on the agenda for Team Wesko will be several days training at Pippa Funnell’s in July.